I wanted to add that in no way did I intend this post to diminish or trivialize the horror and devastation caused by the evil Nazi regime. It shares my experience at a Festival held on the grounds of the Walbrzych Castle. With the title The Festival of Secrets, the two-day event focussed of the impending excavation of the hillside that alledgedly contains a legendary train filled with more than $250 million worth of artifacts, gold bars and missing art that had been plundered during WWII and subsequently hidden from the advancing Red Army in 1945. My thanks and mournful condolences to dear friend Kathryn Johnson who voiced her concerns about this post and shared with me the sad stories her own family suffered.
Wouldn’t you just know it. I’m three days early…
In only three days, live streaming camera crews will record the excavation of a hill in Walbrzych, Poland (the very city I am currently in at this moment) to determine if a hidden Nazi train filled with an estimated $250 million is a reality. In September 2015, Poland’s Deputy Culture Minister Piotra Zuchowski said that ground penetrating radar images detected a train hidden within a hill. Gold fever in the hills above the little village of Walbrzych (Waldenburg before 1945) has been rampant ever since.And so here I am. This morning I attended the Festiwal Tajemic (The Festival of Secrets) on the grounds of the beautiful Walbrzych Castle. In addition to touring the famous home of Princess Daisy of Pless, I also got to tour fifteen meters of the Nazi built tunnels underneath the Castle. Fifteen meters computes to a little over 16 yards, and it’s really not very much to see when you’re hoping to discover a train. But it was really exciting to visit and the tour ends at a mysterious staircase that leads to nowhere.
And most of the Festival was about just that – the mystery of the Nazi Gold Train. I couldn’t believe my good fortune – except all the lectures, demonstrations and re-enactments were in Polish. The annual Festival is a local favorite on the grounds, gardens and terraces of the castle with good food, music, artisans and Polish crafts. I had the feeling that they were catering and entertaining for the nearby townsfolk, not necessarily for the wandering treasure seekers such as I. But I sure did have fun. There were railroad experts and real miniature locomotive that went around the circumference of the castle,seismic special effects demonstrations right under the castle,“how-the-train-was-hidden” theorists, conspiracy de-bunkers and noted spe-lunkers,
And World War II re-enactors in classy Hugo Boss uniforms.It was just a wonderful time even if I didn’t speak the language. I may not have found the Nazi Gold (which does not belong to them by any means…), but I did leave early to follow the coordinates I had brought with me from home. The ACTUAL coordinates where the train is allegedly hiding. I felt like I was carrying contraband because the media was instructed to stop revealing the coordinates last fall after Walbrzych was inundated with trespassers. But I followed my little GPS from the safety of my Toyota rental car through the woods. I just wanted to get close. Before I was even there, I snapped this quick photo out my window. I was sure they were setting up for the live stream on Tuesday. I’m really not sure how close I got actually. I didn’t look back as a sped off with my verboten photograph and I waited until I got back to my hotel room to check my photo.I was feeling pretty smug about my adventure until I took a closer look. I think the yellow-vested “workers” in the background were actually just clearing the brush…. Oh well, I did get away with a solid gold, über cool Explore Walbrzych totebag and a souvenir program.